Snapchat map update raises child safety worries

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An update to Snapchat that shows publicly posted images on a searchable map has raised safety concerns among parents.

Snap Map lets people search for places such as schools and see videos and pictures posted by children inside.

It also lets people locate their “friends” on a map that is accurate enough to determine where people live.

Snap, the company behind Snapchat, stressed to the BBC that location sharing was an opt-in feature.

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Snap Map was launched on Wednesday and was promoted as a “new way to explore the world”.

Video clips and photos that members have posted publicly can be discovered on the map, while members who have chosen to share their location can also be seen on the map by those they have added as “friends”.

However, members can add people they have never met to their friends list too.

A message to parents posted by St Peter’s Academy in Staffordshire warned that the location-sharing feature lets people “locate exactly where you are, which building you are in and exact whereabouts within the building”.

One parent described the update as “dangerous” while another said she could not find the setting to disable it.

People have expressed concern online that the app could be used for stalking or working out exactly where somebody lives.

“If you zoom right in on this new Snapchat map thing it literally tells you where everyone lives? Like exact addresses – bit creepy no?” wrote one user called Leanne.

“This new Snapchat update is awful. An invitation for stalkers, kidnappers, burglars and relationship trust issues,” suggested Jade.

Snap told the BBC that accurate location information was necessary to allow friends to use the service to meet, for example at a restaurant or crowded festival, and said points of interest on the map, such as schools, were provided by third-party mapping service Mapbox.

Concerned parents could find out more information on its Privacy Center website, a spokesman told the BBC.

“With Snap Map, location sharing is off by default for all users and is completely optional. Snapchatters can choose exactly who they want to share their location with, if at all, and can change that setting at any time,” a Snap spokesman said.

“It’s also not possible to share your location with someone who isn’t already your friend on Snapchat, and the majority of interactions on Snapchat take place between close friends.”

How to switch off Snap Map location sharing

When in photo-taking mode, pinch the screen to open Snap Map
Touch the settings cog in the top right corner of the screen
Tap “Ghost Mode” to switch off location sharing
Photos and videos posted to Snapchat’s public ‘Our Story’ will still be discoverable on the map

Sears says some Kmart customer credit card numbers compromised

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Sears Holdings said on Wednesday it found a security breach involving “unauthorized” credit card activity following some customer purchases at its Kmart stores.

Certain credit card numbers were “compromised” in the event, the company said in an emailed statement, without providing exact figures.

No personal information such as contact details and social security numbers of customers were obtained by those responsible for the breach, Sears said.

“There is also no evidence that kmart.com or Sears customers were impacted,” it said.

Are Reimbursement Scams the New Thing?

Everyone knows scams have always been an issue, especially since the internet has grown, but now it appears a larger scam has developed.

It starts off with a phone call. An unknown individual will claim to be with a software, computer company, advising that their company is closing down and that software was purchased by you years ago. They’ll inform you that you’ll be receiving a reimbursement of $100 or more, because you didn’t get the total amount of years covered by the warranty. Free money sounds great, but are you really going to get this money? No. In fact, you’ll be paying them. How so?

Once the scammer advises you on the amount you’ll supposedly receive, they’ll ask you for financial information to send you the money. After they claim to have sent the money, they’ll say they accidently sent you too much, or they accidently added an extra zero, making it $1000 instead of $100, and you’ll need to send the difference back. Most of these scammers will ask that you send via wire transfer or by a gift card.

Unfortunately, many are falling victim to this newer scam. If you ever receive a phone call or email, stating you’ll be receiving a refund, be sure to listen to all the details and ensure a reputable company is calling you. Most of the time, companies will not attempt to refund you, even if they’re going out of business.

Government grant scams on the rise


The rise of government grant scams have increased within the last couple of years. Individuals receive phone and email communication, stating individuals are eligible to receive grant funding for particular tasks or awards.

How exactly does one identify a scam of this sort? First, the government will always contact you by US Mail, with detailed paperwork of such grants being offered. The government typically will not offer grants unless you inquire about them.

Secondly, the government will never ask you to send money in order to receive grant money. Many victims of these scams report that the suspects involved will request a certain amount of money, in order to receive the grant funding.

If you receive any calls regarding these scams and offers, contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP and block the caller. Never send any money to any individual offering grants or claiming to be part of the government.

How to safely shop on eBay!

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With today’s internet technology, you can pretty much buy anything with the click of a mouse.. literally. Companies like eBay and amazon give sellers the ability to profit off their goods, while at the same time helping others seek whey desire. Unfortunately eBay buyers and others do not fall short of becoming the victim of countless scams and fraudulent products.

We’ve come up with a list of procedures you should check before purchasing from sellers online. We hope these will be sufficient enough to make your chances of a scam, less.

CHECK THE SELLER’S COMMENTS AND POSITIVE FEEDBACK

When you’re interested in purchasing an item, make sure you check the feedback before pressing submit & pay. A lot of sellers have a positive or negative feedback on their profile. If you need more negative than positive, it might not be a good idea to proceed.

USE CAUTION WHEN PURCHASING FROM A NEW SELLER ACCOUNT

Many scammers will create brand new seller accounts, in an effort to avoid being detected. If the account is new, there is no feedback, use caution. You might want to see if there’s a better deal from another seller.

AVOID SELLERS WHO WANT TO RECEIVE PAYMENTS IN OTHER WAYS

eBay and others have strict policies on how payments can be sent to the seller. eBay mostly prefers you use their website or PayPal to send transactions. Avoid sellers who want you to take payments off eBay’s website and request money orders or gift cards.

READ THE ITEM’S DESCRIPTION BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH PURCHASE

As much as we hate to say it, many buyers have failed to read the description of items before purchasing. Scammers will add in small bits of text, saying something to the effect of “This is a PlayStation One picture”, while the buyer misses that part, believing it is an actual PlayStation One console.

ONLY PURCHASE FROM REPUTABLE WEBSITES

Avoid buying from websites that are completely unknown to you. If you search for an item and stumble across http://www.johndoesstuff.com, you might want to avoid it, especially if it cannot be proven to be reputable.

With these mentioned, we hope it’ll better protect you and your friends, in avoiding online scams!

 

Texas Wants To Close Loophole In Online Predators Law

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A Texas State Representative is pushing to close a loophole in the law designed to protect people from being victimized by predators online.

“The perpetrator uses non-physical forms of coercion such as blackmail to acquire sexual content… either photos or video of a child or an adult… to obtain money, or to engage in sex with the victim” State Representative Tony Dale said during a Monday Morning press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin.

“This new bill addresses a gap in law where it is currently not illegal to threaten or extort people to provide such material” Dale said, adding “If such material is published–as I said, that’s already illegal–but blackmailing people today for these purposes is not specifically illegal.”

Investigators will tell you the online anonymity provided by social media continues to be a big challenge to them in protecting potential victims from harm.

“You can be who you want to be, and unfortunately our children may start chatting with these individuals… believing they are one of their peers” said Captain Jerry Medders with the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Dale is pushing for his bill to get a hearing before a Texas House committee.

http://www.ktsa.com

Sextortion and how to prevent it

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Cyber Crime Response Agency receives many calls per week from individuals reporting that an online sexual encounter took place, with the opposite sex on camera. These situations typically result in the other party threatening to post private images of the victim online, unless that victim pays an amount of money.

A lot of the reportees we receive are worried that they’ve committed a type of crime. This could be further from the truth. As long as both parties involved understand that both are legal adults, anyone can have any type of encounter with another.

So how exactly do these suspects find their victims? Many of them search Facebook for random Facebook accounts, while others post in personals online. On Facebook, it typically starts off with a random friend request from the opposite sex. Once the account owner accepts the friend request, the suspect will then attempt to entice and encourage the account owner to come on camera, to engage in sexual activities. The threat can occur at any time, from the middle to the end of the encounter. Threats typically consist of statements that videos or pictures have been saved and will be posted or sent to family, if an amount of money isn’t sent.

Humiliating, right? So how can you avoid these types of situations? Simple! Don’t have them. Although crimes aren’t being committed by having the encounter, you have to take into consideration, the possibilities of threats. Should you fall for these types of crimes, do not make payment to anyone, for any reason, no matter how severe the threat is. In our experience, 95% of suspects to threaten, do not actually follow through with their threats. Why? Because they have nothing to gain from it.

You can make reports of these situations to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP.